Thursday, Aug. 12, 2010

Gabba Gabba, We Accept You

Youngblood opens 2010-2011 Season With FREAKSHOW

By Russ Bickerstaff
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The Circus Freakshow had it heyday long before Todd Browning’s 1932  cult hit film FREAKS. The appeal of seeing the utter enormity of human morphology—from the armless and legless to conjoined twins, dwarfs, giants, the surreally obese and so on has never really lost its appeal. Where as people used to have to venture to the circus to see such a thing, the fascination has taken a more socially acceptable format in half-hour documentaries on basic cable channels like TLC and Discovery Health. No longer the weird, prurient fascination it used to be, interest in human abnormalities seems to at least be wearing the mask of casual scientific curiosity on the part of the general public . . .

This October,  Youngblood Theatre opens its season with an in-depth look at an older version of the freakshow in playwright Carson Kreitzer’s Freakshow. Set to be directed by talented actor Jason Economus, the play follows a group of circus freaks at a crossroads at the turn of the last century. Economus is probably best known for his role in the final Bialystock and Bloom show—a hauntingly memorable production of Edward Albee’s Zoo Story. A few may remember him starring alongside Susan Currie in an In Tandem production of Hate Mail several years ago. The cast of Youngblood’s Freakshow. features Yonugblood regulars Tess Cinpinski, Rich Gillard, Benjamin James Wilson and Andrew Edwin Voss.

“You are wondering if I’ve ever had sexual intercourse,” says Amalia as the play opens. She’s addressing the audience. The script establishes that she is beautiful and that she is bereft of arms and legs. The only female in the cast, Cinpinski would fit the bill exceedingly well were it not for the fact that she has all four limbs firmly attached. It’ll be interesting to see how Youngblood carries this off. The make-up effects here could get really exotic if Youngblood had the right opportunity to explore them. There’s a pinhead. There’s a human salamander floating around in a tank of water. He is described in Amalia’s monologue as having a blush of blue beneath translucent green skin. “Biggest eyes you’ve ever seen,” Amalia says, ”After a year in the water, they begun to fleck with gold. Bulging beautiful like the eyes of a toad.”

And the Human Slamander says, “Drain this tank and you pour my soul out onto the floor.” Weirdly poetic stuff.

Here’s hoping Youngblood can deliver on the potential of the script. Between this and Alchemist's Murder Castle, October 2010 is beginning to look very interesting for local theatre. 

Youngblood Theatre’s production of Freakshow runs October through November of 2010. Dates have yet to be announced. 

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